Tony Aiello

FundRaising Success: How would you define where the fundraising sector in the United States is in regard to mobile giving?

Jim Killion: Mobile giving is in its infancy, but with the dramatic results achieved by the Red Cross with text-to-give to Haiti relief, it is now on most people's radar. In many ways, mobile giving is where what is now often referred to as "traditional Internet giving" was six or eight years ago. And just as Internet giving has taken off in the last decade, so will mobile giving. But the move to mobile will be much faster than the move to Internet giving.

In 1997, online donations in the United States totaled a mere $300,000. In 2007, online donations were pinpointed at $10.44 billion reflecting exponential growth in overall giving and technology, according to a Harvard University study on innovation in Social Enterprise.

Mobile fundraising has arrived in the United States. In early February 2008, the Mobile Giving Foundation opened the mobile-giving channel in the U.S., providing nonprofits nationwide the ability to utilize text messaging for purposes other than constituent contact and advocacy programs.

A few years ago, I jumped into the virtual world known as Second Life. I created an avatar that was much thinner, much prettier and decidedly more exotic than I am (she looked a lot more like Angelina Jolie than she did me), and I gave her a cool name. The fact that I don’t remember what it was should tell you where this is heading. When I finished the creation stage — voila! — there was Margelina (we’ll call her, in retrospect), tall and beautiful, and standing completely naked in this weird, other-wordly place that was rather dark and just a little menacing.

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